Episode 2: “The Graveyard of What Might Be”
Directed by Kari Skogland
Written by Mark Richard
* For a recap & review of the premiere, “The Shorter Way” – click here
* For a recap & review of the next episode, “The Gas Mask Man” – click here
Bing Partridge (Ólafur Darri Ólafsson) is typing a letter to the “Christmasland owner.” He saw an ad in Spicy Menace. He’d love to work in Christmasland. Currently he works as a janitor, and also at a company called MCS where he’s responsible for shipping “dangerous chemical gasses all over the world.”
For those who haven’t read Joe Hill’s novel, doesn’t this feel a bit sinister? Delightful.
Bing hears Christmas music upstairs. He goes up to see his parents dancing by the tree. Except mom’s dead. Dad’s wearing a gas mask, chasing his son. This sends the big guy running downstairs, and Danny Moore (Asher Miles Fallica) appears. “I have something for you,” he tells Bing— an invite to Christmasland. The kid’s viciously strong, too.
Bing comes to from his nightmare. Not entirely. He looks up to see the moon in the sky with the face of Charlie Manx (Zachary Quinto). Yikes. At work, Bing hears the radio start playing Christmas music, despite being unplugged. He notices a 1938 Rolls-Royce Wraith outside. Before he can get a better look, the car— with Manx inside— is gone.
Vic McQueen (Ashleigh Cummings) decides to confront Chris (Ebon Moss-Bachrach) at his lady friend’s place. She wants to know why he left. Dad acts like that’s not what he’s doing. He says Linda (Virginia Kull) is better off if he isn’t around. Doesn’t help his daughter feeling betrayed. At home, Linda’s not surprised by any of it. Both parents are curious how she found out where Chris was and who he was with there.
Out where the bridge was, but is no longer, Vic meets Craig (Dalton Harrod). She asks him to stay there. When she heads for the bridge, it appears. Craig’s amazed / shocked. He decides to head after her. It doesn’t work that way. He slams into a wall, getting knocked off his bike. He wakes up. The bridge is gone and Vic’s back.
She’s linked to the bridge. She brings back the old stuffed bunny from Craig’s childhood, similar to how she found her dad’s watch+her mom’s credit card. He doesn’t dig it. He warns this could bring something bad. What if she’s being whittled away each time she uses the bridge?
In Iowa, Maggie Leigh (Jahkara Smith) won’t stop looking into the Wraith. She brings what she found to Sheriff Bly (Chris McKinney). He’s not inclined to believe too much in her “Scrabble bag.” She’s worried about the boy. She wants the cop to check into a junkyard where she located spare Wraith parts.
Speaking of the Wraith, Manx stops at MCS to speak with Bing about Christmasland, being “President of Fun” and all. He’d like to interview Bing for a position as Chief of Security, to protect the kids. The custodian gets in the Rolls-Royce. He’s given a soda and they’re on their way. Manx wants to know about the gasses.
After that, the big guy passes out from his fizzy drink.
Again, Vic’s dealing with her mother planning the future for her. She wants to chase her dreams rather than only surviving, which is what Linda’s been doing for many years now, through no fault of her own. Understandable from Linda’s POV, too. She doesn’t want her daughter to struggle. Not good enough for Vic. She wants to live the life she wants to live, not one dictated by financial struggle or unfortunate circumstance. This, among other things, leads the daughter to go stay with dad for a bit.
“The road to Christmasland
is paved in dreams.”
Vic feels the signal of Manx’s radio burrow into her head. She sees a candy cane where there isn’t one. When she goes over to see her dad, Chris and Tiffany are having topless backyard fun in the pool. Tiffany offers for his daughter to stay in the craft room. Dad’s unsure what’s good for her, really. Vic asks if there’s a way forward for their family somehow. The answer she gets isn’t the one she wants. That night, Linda turns up at and the situation gets fairly crazy. Vic takes off on them all rather than stick around.
Sheriff Bly and Maggie visit the scrapyard. A woman tells them 32 years ago a man showed to have his car fixed. Her son and grandson disappeared along with the car and its owner. She remembers him— a sickly, 80-year-old. The car itself was like a living thing, nearly killing the woman’s son. “That car had a mind of its own,” she says. She calls Manx a “rat face.” He does resemble a rat with those gnarly teeth.
Vic heads straight to the bridge.
She comes out the other side and bails hard in the street. She’s now in Iowa!
She meets Maggie, who assumes her THE BRAT from those Scrabble tiles. Vic’s really confused. The signal rings in her head. The witchy young lady explains to Vic how the bridge is what’s called an “inscape“— like a world that “strong creatives” can pull from their mind into the real one. She goes into her bag for more tiles. They spell THE WRAITH again. Maggie tells Vic about the “serial child abductor.” Manx is a strong creative, as is Danny. It’s all connected. Bit much for Vic to comprehend. She’s reluctant to help, even with Maggie pleading.
In the snow, Manx stops his car. He and Bing walk through a path in the woods. The big guy notices a girl encased in ice below their feet. Headstones stretch out everywhere before them. It’s the “Graveyard of What Might Be.” Manx says it’s where abused, neglected children will wind up if he doesn’t save them. He tells Bing— who has his own tortured childhood behind him— that Christmasland is a place where they can save these unfortunate boys and girls.
But someone in Haverhill could threaten “the magic” of that place.
You know who. The girl who knows the Shorter Way.
Killer follow-up to the first great episode. Father Gore’s totally sold, and will definitely be reading Hill’s book as soon as the series is done. This is a spectacular twist on vampire lore, plus there’s a whole host of family / social drama happening underneath the supernatural elements. Super intriguing.
“The Gas Mask Man” is next, and the title suggests we’ll get to know more of Bing.